Update: This article was last updated on 30th March 2020 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
In these challenging times, when the coronavirus outbreak has become a menace for most parts of the world, it is not only insisted but advised by the authorities to stay at home and maintain social distancing.
Recently, US has become the country with the most number of recorded coronavirus cases, even more than China.
For all businesses, including accounting, suspending their office operations and urging employees to work from home has become a necessity.
However, managing remote workers can be extremely challenging. Implementing proper software solutions and platforms can help to manage employees easily and improve their productivity.
CPAs need to adjust their approach to work and simplify the management complexities created in an environment supporting remote connections to employees.
However, benefits such as better retention rate and enhanced productivity typically overshadow the potential disadvantages created while offering remote connections to employees.
Here are some tips to ensure that the remote workers’ efficiency is not affected in any way.
1. Give Importance to Evaluation and Accountability
Some of the members may log in at five in the morning or plug-in at eight in the night. Assessing remote workers can be a daunting task as they have a varying working schedule.
Focussing on the appropriate statistics and metrics can help to evaluate the remote workers’ performance better. Work can be assessed on the basis of clear objectives developed after taking inputs from the remote workers. Eventually, this results in more engaged workers.
2. Build a Good Office Rapport
A virtual workplace requires intense efforts to build the same rapport as the physical office. Whether it’s featuring individual employees in the monthly newsletter or hosting an online hangout, find ways to bolster ties among all remote workers.
Scheduling monthly or weekly face-to-face meetings can help to discuss business priorities better.
3. Use Better Collaboration Tools to Share Knowledge
The emergence of various technologies and collaboration platforms has simplified the process of knowledge sharing. Cloud is one such technology that can help the accounting team view and edit files in real-time. They can also share files with clients on the cloud.
Moreover, video and screen capturing tools enable information sharing with other team members sitting at remote locations. Video conferencing can help users to collaborate easily, brainstorm on a whiteboard, share screens, and instantly resolve issues related to expense tracking and payroll management. This enables better collaboration and efficient handling of financial data.
4. Conduct Diligent Analysis
Although there are various challenges that your accounting team might face during the outbreak, employees’ activities must be analyzed regularly. It will help you identify any factors that are affecting the accountants’ productivity.
Keep a check on employees responding late to emails, phone calls, or instant messages. The performance of resources should be analyzed, and the highest performing employee must be rewarded.
You can identify the workers who are negligent in meeting the deadlines. This will help in identifying those members of the organization who appear to be counter-productive.
5. Connect Staff to Right Resources at Right Time
The time zones of the employees must fit their work schedule. Try to avoid assigning tasks to employees working in different routines. This leaves team members perpetually in the hurry-up-and-wait-cycle, as their fellow mates are half a world away completing their part of a project.
Tools like Sharepoint can be used to connect users with useful resources. It ensures employees have access to up-to-date and accurate information.
6. Get Feedback from the Remote Staff
Take feedback from remote workers to build up a better staff management process. Interact with employees directly to ensure the feedback received is accurate. Depending upon the feedback, offsite staff management can be improved.
Ask remote employees for their input on the challenges they’re facing and what they need to be more successful. Accurate input from the remote employees regarding their problems can help them to learn what they need to be more productive.
7. Build an Encouraging Work-Environment
Distance dilutes the urgency of getting things done. A better engaging environment and an active workforce can be built by informing the team members of what is exactly happening on-site. Team-based goals can be set, and competitions can be conducted to encourage the active engagement of the employees.
Mood-monitoring tools can help to judge the engagement levels of the remote workforce. This would also encourage self-awareness among the employees.
During the outbreak, it is essential to encourage employees to stay safe in their houses. However, accounting being a critical process for any business, the CPAs must try to work remotely with the utmost productivity, even during these testing times.
A remote workforce can help businesses keep their economy stable if appropriately managed. Keeping employees informed and engaged can help to create a better workplace remotely. Additionally, motivating employees and promoting plenty of interactions can help businesses to build a better community of remote workforce.
Analyzing the issues encountered by the remote employees as done for an in-house employee can help to get through the coronavirus outbreak.
For more tips on how to keep accounting operations up and running during the Coronavirus pandemic, download this free ebook.
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